Shark at­tack vic­tim given farewell at surf break

Southern Telegraph - - Front Page - Ai­den Boy­ham

Hun­dreds of mourn­ers gath­ered in Man­durah over the week­end to farewell Fal­con surfer and 29-yearold fa­ther-to-be Ben Ger­ring.

Fam­ily and friends gath­ered at Port Bou­vard surf club on Fri­day to share trea­sured me­mories, be­fore more than 100 friends and fel­low surfers took part in a pad­dle out on Satur­day in tribute to the ocean lover.

Mr Ger­ring, who was fa­tally mauled by a shark last month, died three days af­ter the at­tack, with the heroic ef­forts of fel­low surfers who kept him alive prov­ing to be in vain as he later suc­cumbed to in­juries in hos­pi­tal.

Mr Ger­ring and his fi­ancee, Jas­mine Boyer, had only re­cently learned they were go­ing to have a baby and had be­gun build­ing their dream home in Fal­con.

The pro­ces­sion into Fri­day’s ser­vice at the surf club was led by the cou­ple’s dog, Bear.

Pre­vi­ously, Mr Ger­ring had been re­mem­bered by loved ones as a “man of the sea”, with his pas­sion for the ocean ev­i­dent as surf­ing images cov­ered his cof­fin while a surf­board sat on top of the hearse.

More than 100 surfers took part in Satur­day’s pad­dle-out, with many of them en­ter­ing the wa­ter again for the first time since the tragic in­ci­dent.

About 100m from the shore,

surfers formed a large cir­cle as they paid tribute to Mr Ger­ring.

Dozens watched from the beach, with white bal­loons later re­leased into the sky.

A pri­vate burial was later held on Mon­day.

The fly-in, fly-out worker lost con­scious­ness af­ter the at­tack when his right leg was sev­ered above the knee and he was brave- ly dragged back to shore by fel­low surfers.

It is be­lieved a great white shark at­tacked Mr Ger­ring about 4pm on May 31.

He had surfed at Gearies Break in Fal­con, where the at­tack oc­curred, since he was a child.

Al­most $55,000 has been raised to help Mr Ger­ring’s fi­ancee and their un­born child, thanks to a fundraising page set up by a friend.

Af­ter the at­tack on Mr Ger­ring, the Depart­ment of Fish­eries killed a sus­pect great white shark us­ing a baited drum line off the same beach as he was at­tacked.

Since then there have been calls for the rein­tro­duc­tion of the com­mer­cial shark fish­ery, bet­ter pro­tec­tion and warn­ing sys­tems to pro­tect surfers and im­prove­ments to shark tag­ging.

Pic­ture: Nic El­lis

Mourn­ers farewell Ben Ger­ring at Port Bour­vard Surf Life Sav­ing Club.

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